Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good Coffee? In Paris? Mais oui!

As I said in my summer catch up post a couple of weeks ago (here), I have a friend who spent a delightful wintry Christmas in Paris (reads shades of green over this~!!). Catching up with her about her trip, and chatting about coffee in Paris, reminded me of a post I have been meaning to write for quite some time.

When I first returned to Paris after an absence of more than 10 years, I had a wonderful time amid the excitement of revisiting the city; exploring it with my young family and through my children's eyes.

However, with everything to love about sitting and eating in a cafe in Paris, the coffee being served was not, and became my one great disappointment on that trip.  It seemed that 'good coffee' and 'Paris' did not want to be in the same sentence.

'Flat white' at Kooka Boora
As someone who thoroughly enjoys a velvety 'flat white' to start the day, and someone willing to go out of my way to 'get a good one', a trickle of bitter brown liquid and some warmed packaged heat-treated milk, does not constitute a coffee to be savoured.  Merely one to be endured.

On starting my little business, and therefore making more regular trips, I decided to be a lot more prepared and did some online research before I headed off again.

Well, I am certainly not the only one in the blogosphere to have been politely trying all sorts of combinations of un caféun café crèmeun crème or un express to find out what seems most like the Australian 'flat white' or 'latte' (for an technical explanation see here).  As it turned out there were many like-minded individuals saying: the French are great at so many things but 'what the ...?' when it came to Parisian coffee!

Kooka Boora Café
And boy did that research pay off!  Not only did I find some great coffee, but some quirkly little cafes and places to visit, in areas I may not have otherwise explored~!

And over the last few years, the wheels of change are steadily turning and this will now be one of the things I look forward to on my upcoming buying trip.

Here are my absolute and favourite top two that are definitely worth going out of your way to find:

KB Café Shop
1. KB Café Shop, 53 rue Trudaine / 62 rue des Martyrs, 9th 
(aka Kooka Boora Café, KB Café)

When travelling I love to live like a local, and rarely visit 'expat enclaves'.  Here I make a major exception.  Excellent coffee, excellent choice of coffee, fast friendly service.  Ceiling high windows, loads of lovely light.  And an atmosphere that is a hybrid of Australian-relaxed and Paris-hip, rolled into one.  Good speed on the free wifi too, if you are in need of some of that also.

Coutume Café image via riccolo

2. Coutume Café, 47 rue de Babylone, 7th

A little out of the way unless you are staying in the 7th, and coincidentally also Australian part-owned, Coutume Cafe has been winning awards for its coffee since it opened in 2011.  It roasts it's own great blend, which is bought and served by other cafes!  To get your bearings: it's around the corner from arguably the best department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché, and 20 minutes walk in one direction is Musée d'Orsay, and about 20 minutes walk in another is the Champ de Mars and La Tour Eiffel.  In a quiet streeet, but the cafe has it's own vibey atmosphere.  A great pit stop if you are planning one of those lovely walks in Paris!  Excellent food and free wifi also. 

KB Cafe, Pigalle
Behind these two is a long list of good cafes, serving good coffee, that I have tried from lists created by others.  So here I share my 'go to guides' for my future trips, from others whose judgement I have found to be excellent.  My advice here is to print them off or save them to your phone, so that you can find something on the go.

David Lebovitz
(I love working my way through David Lebowitz's recommendations on anything food related!) 
** my starting point and have worked my way through most of this list

HiP Paris Blog

Good Coffee in Paris
*latest ones to check out while you're there

Hope you have as much fun exploring these as I did!


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